Thursday, December 10, 2015

Russia's Western Front

There is news along Russia's western front.

The Baltic states of NATO have a better ability to resist energy blackmail now:

A quarter of a century after breaking free from the Soviet Union, the Baltic states are finally getting rid of their electricity dependence too.

One of two new cables costing 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion), connecting Lithuania to Poland, started on Wednesday, according to grid managers. Commercial flows on the second link from Lithuania to Sweden, big enough to eliminate the Baltic nation’s Russian imports, had been poised to start commercial operations on Wednesday too before tests were suspended Monday after a fire next to a Swedish converter station.

That's good. Russia seems unusually interested in regaining control of those countries.

Poland seems on the way to having a more potent panzer force than the guys who invented the term:

Poland has received its final batch of Leopard 2 main battle tanks (MBTs) from Germany, it has been announced.

The MBTs, plus 220 additional vehicles, were purchased for EUR187 million (USD203 million) in November 2013 from ex-German Army stocks to equip the 34th Armoured Cavalry Brigade, based in Zagan.

Poland is the main line of resistance for stopping a hypothetical Russian drive west. So this is good. The Big Bad from the East likes Poland as a buffer zone. Poland prefers not to have that job title.

And forward of that line, Russia continues to muck around in the Donbas region of Ukraine:

Arms and fighters are still pouring into rebel-held areas of eastern Ukraine from Russia, a United Nations report said on Wednesday, as it put the death toll from 20 months of fighting at more than 9,100.

Killings, torture and lawlessness still prevail in the disputed region, the report by the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said.

The Baltic states and Poland have a good example of what Russia will do to them if they let down their guard.

We need to step up, too.

Our reset friends, the Russians.